How to Get the Respect and Trust of your audience by Mark Davis

How to Get the Respect and Trust of your audience

Respect gives you the authority to train

When I stood up in front of more than 2400 people in Sydney, Australia, I only had 5 minutes to speak.

So I knew the most important part of my speech – was what the Host said before I cam onto the stage. My introduction. So I wrote one that he was comfortable reading, which talked about my experience, my success, my relationship to the company, and my being a part of their “family”.

Now, as one of them, I was able to speak and be accepted immediately, instead of presenting as a stranger or a foreigner.

We had our most successful day (in sales) ever.

In Singapore 180 people showed up for an introductory public speaking workshop. It was important for me tho show how well I had mastered the skill, just as it was important for me to let them see where their level was at.

The exercise that I ran helped them  realize  the  truth,  but  with  compassion  and support. Then I gave them the formula or recipe for success – and within 90 minutes we saw some transformations. When  the  audience  respects  you,  they will  act  on  your suggestions.

When I was teaching online advertising in Budapest, Hungary it was brand new for them. As an authority, brought in to teach, people trusted in the workshop promoter that what I was teaching would help them catch up with the rest of the Internet world in the west. When I trained them, it was like feeding young lions. They were ravenous, and had a thirst for more. Within 3 years of conducting training there, I was known as the “Godfather of the Internet”.

But without the respect from the students, the impact wouldn’t have been as great.

If you’ve ever liked to tell people what to do, you might just be perfect at this training technique which helps create a positive emotion in your audience.

In “Master The Art of Public Speaking”, I talked about training your audience to complete simple tasks like give a standing ovation or even just when to clap. Also how to use something we all had growing up, the relationship of teacher and student.

As a trainer it’s even more important to take advantage of this archetype. This model is vital for us to understand who we are, what’s our role and who our audience is and what their role is.

Everyone went to school as a child. For at least a few years. And that’s part of why  you can read this article.

And you listened to the teacher as some form of authority. Someone you trusted to tell you the truth. And if you were lucky, someone who revealed some of the secrets of the universe to you. As you grew older and discovered more and more about the world you live in, you questioned more and more about  what they taught. But you took it as the truth at the time.

It’s no surprise that that trust continues into adulthood.

It’s also no surprise that our fear of the principal – the highest authority in our lives at school – continues. It has now been replaced with the fear of regulators, tax  offices,  government departments.

So we continue to seek trainers, teachers, philosophers, guides, and coaches.

So that we can learn more, to give ourselves an advantage.

And then teach others what we know.

As a trainer, I want you to embrace the authority that you represent. What authority?  The  expert at the front of the room.

Whenever the audience sits down, they have an expectation that the person speaking knows more than they do. Otherwise they’d be giving the class!

So you have a responsibility to show them exactly what you know, why you know it, and how they can learn it too.

Because unlike school, adults know when they learn what you know – there   is a good chance they can have what you have.

Traveling around, people don’t want to hear about how much I enjoyed Niagara Falls at night. They want to learn how they can have the lifestyle that I have, so they can do it even better. They can learn the skill or knowledge and transfer it into their own values and make it work for them the way they want.

When you stand in front of an audience and tell them all the work you did to get where you are – they don’t want to know that.

They  are paying for the  shortcut.

Paying  for the expertise. Paying  for you to get the experience, so they can get   the lesson.

Someone asked me the other day, “Why am I paying you to do this?” I said, because I’m the one motivating you to get it done. Without that motivation, the project would have sat in the bookshelf for another year.

So getting paid to get people into action is one way I, as the trainer, use the power of instruction. It gets things done, even when I am coaching a client one- on-one.

Authority Power is important to use wisely and use often.

If you have people in your training that already ‘know-it-all’ then you can have a challenging time. They ask too many questions, they push back on you, and they never agree with anything.

That’s why you need to tell enough about your life and what you’ve done, to impress them. People have better things to do with their time than learn something they already know, so tell them something awesome that you’ve done, and how you did  it.

People are unique, they only  hear  what  they  want  to  hear, so it’s  important for you to get in front of people with 3 or 4 variations of what you are saying, as one of them they will be able to relate to.

Tell them who you are. No apology, no reserves. Be proud of what you have achieved and what you hvae done in your life. This will impress people, especially if you are going to share how you did it, and help  them see themselves doing the same.

No-one wants to waste their time listening to someone who hasn’t achieved anything. We want to sit at the feet of those who have what we want, have done what we will do, and who are the type of people we want to be like.

We  listen to millionaires because we want millions

We listen to sales trainers and motivators, because we want to sell more.

We listen to therapists because we want to understand ourselves and why we do certain things – in business, in relationships, in our thoughts.

We    listen, because we have respect for the qualifications and/or achievements of the speaker/trainer/teacher. And that respect has us sit down and  pay attention.

Now  onto you.

You need to take inventory right now and look at your personal biography and resume.

If you are keeping things secret about who you are, you are mysterious. But if you want your audience to listen to you, respect you, and act on what you are training, you need to share more.

Write a list of your strengths and weaknesses, at least 10 of each. If you can’t get to a list of 10, start with 5.

And from that list, I want you to read out loud a spontaneous Bio/Introduction based on that information.

If you don’t think that person sounds qualified to teach you anything, you have to go back to work.

Focus on the following areas to build your personal brand statement. Experience Skills Talents Knowledge

Favorite job Biggest achievement Inventions Character Values Passions Purpose Mission Vision Statement Goals

From this list you should be able to make yourself stand out in the crowd!

So do the exercise again, based on your answers to the list above, spontaneously do an introduction of yourself.

If you are telling me you can’t think on your feet, you can’t do it that quickly then training might not be for you. You need to have a bottomless well of positive attitude about yourself, self-esteem should never be an issue with you.

Because if it is, your audience will see through you. And  you’ll fail.

Confidence and self-esteem, a willingess  to  look  honestly  at  your  strengths  and begin to capitalise on them, is the beginning of the journey towards a better level of respect and admiration from your audience.

No matter how old, no matter how well you know them.

The audience is always going to reflect back to you what you send out, so if you send out ‘washy-washy’ they will in turn look weak.

If you present arrogance, the audience will push that emotion back to you.  But if you present a confident, successful, helpful and motivated individual – then the audience will look and sound and participate like the best audience of your life.

I’ve said it before, there’s no such thing as a bad audience. Just weak, shy, poorly prepared speakers.

I want you to be in the category of “awesome”. And have your training remembered, acted upon, and talked about to the world. So more people can learn what you have to share.

But that won’t  happen if you don’t start giving people a reason to remember you and to learn what you have to say.

Be confident. It’s what the audience is expecting! They want what you have, so you better have confidence — not wimpiness.

Defining arrogance.

Many people come to me in my public speaking workshops worried that they will be perceived as arrogant or bossy or ‘full of themself’ if they spend too much time talking about their achievements.

And what I share with them is the following  concept.

If you’re currently at 3/10 confident, it’s not possible to sound arrogant.

When you get to 10/10 confident then you have something to work with, and can focus on those key elements of who you are and what you’ve done, to  selectively share with your audience your unique skills and talents.

Because when you share “EVERYTHING” about you, its going  to  be  too much. No-one wants to know about the last 7 jobs you’ve had in your career. Or about the schools you went to when you were young and then the high schools and then the universities.

And no-one wants you pointing out everything about you that is better than them.

Respect.  That’s all you’re going for. And when you have that, its’ enough!

So arrogance can show up when people believe they are ‘better’ than someone else.

The need to prove they are better. Or just lying about being better.

What you need to consider when you’re talking about yourself is the reaction you want from your audience.

Don’t stand in front of poor people saying you have money and they don’t. Don’t stand in front of unemployed people, saying they should get a job.

And don’t tell everyone about traveling business class, when people have never even flown in a plane.

The subtleties of self-confidence need to be shown to an audience in other ways.

The way you carry yourself – posture, movement.

The way you look – image, clothes, hair, shoes, accessories. And the way you talk to your audience.

Respect is a two-way street, and by acknowledging and respecting them, it makes it much easier for them to in turn follow instructions you give them. Especially if you are going to challenge them or take them outside their comfort zone.

You need to build that rapport, and that connection. Then you can take the audience any way you want to  go.

Don’t be shy. It doesn’t suit you. And it doesn’t help them.

I know because I tried. I went up on stage talking about being a beginner, about not knowing much, and about being a student too. It backfired terribly! The audience then is afraid to listen to you, and they don’t feel confident that they are going to learn anything.

Lead strong. Finish strong. And be strong throughout your talk. Some simple affirmations could  include:

They want to learn from me They need what I have to share

They will benefit from what I have to say What I know is  valuable

How I speak is  positive

What they want is what I’ll give them When I get a question I know the answer How I feel is confident and prepared

And that is a good reminder – but you need to believe it!  And the best way is to be prepared by knowing who you are. So back to the strengths and weaknesses exercise.

We haven’t forgotten the other side of the coin.

You need to know where you are not perfect. SO you can use that to your advantage too.

List out your 10 weaknesses – maybe you already have, often its easier to be critical than supportive of ourselves, and we often don’t stop at 10.

When you look at the list you might see things like: Late finishing or starting

Disorganized Talk too fast Easily distracted Slow mover Soft talker

Fidgety when nervous Hard to make eye contact

This list is just as important for you. Why?

Because you can use it to build a connection with your audience.

“Despite my stutter, I’ve been able  to  give  over  300  presentations  this  year and sell more product than anyone else in my state.”

 “Even though I talk fast, my passion for the subject will get you motivated  and you’ll understand me, and want to go out and put the ideas into action right away!”

“I don’t have the best fashion sense, so I know my weaknesses, and have my wife dress me!”

“I love buying shoes, so I always  bring my husband shopping to carry the bags I know I’m going to end up with.”

You can make lighthearted comments about your quirky habits, your personality traits, and what does it do?

It makes you human.

Your weaknesses can truly become your strengths when you know what they are, you own up to them, and you share them with your audience.

And weaknesses can also be mistakes or failures. Each of those can become just as powerful. In Volume 2 of the Master The Art Of Public Speaking I talk about imperfections helping you to build rapport with your audience. It’s a great chapter and one that is the basis for what you’re reading here.

So lets look at your weaknesses/failures and turn each one into a statement that you can make ‘relateable’ to your audience.


It’s hard to find the balance between sharing your strengths and your weaknesses.

But here’s a good guide. If your audience is looking at you as if you know nothing, share another strength. If they look like they are cringing, share a story about a business mistake, a relationship failure, and how you turned it around – or if it wasn’t a happy ending, what you learned from it.

Respect and Trust are what you are aiming for.

Self-confidence is the first key, and self-belief the second.

Being self-confident is about how you present, and self-belief is the way you talk about yourself.

This happens first when you’re preparing and again when you’re in front of your audience.

Never talk down about yourself. When you share your weaknesses  or failures, it has to have a point, and you have to be clear that you’re opening up something personal. People respect a sincere story even if it isn’t a happy ending, and they will give you credit for sharing it.

Never make a joke about yourself as a failure. Because the rapport you just built with the guy in the third row who has had the SAME failure, will feel you’re laughing  at him.

All the hard work goes out the window.

When you have to share positive things about yourself and your achievements, they should always be shared in such a way that others feel they can achieve the same things.

This is why we set the stage or the tone of your talk always to train people to have what we have – or to have even more.

Some examples?

“I’ve traveled to over 24 of the United States, and I’m sure someone here today dreams of visiting them all!”

“I sit up in the front row on the plane, where I can stretch my legs out. One day you might be flying that plane!”

“I make big sales commissions. And I know that if I complete paperwork correctly, my commissions come in faster. Of course if you make bigger commissions, you’ll want more people checking your work!”

“I cook a pretty good chicken curry. And if yours comes out better than mine in the class today, I’ll be taking some home to show my husband how good a teacher I am!”

Maya Angelou  once said,

“Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it.”

Mark Davis

Mark Davis

Mark Davis is an international speaker, trainer and social entrepreneur whose passion is to inspire people to grow, lead and connect.

Mastery of Communication across the verbal, written and online area has helped him teach and train tens of thousands of people around the world.

Mark’s background and passion lies in speaking and training, helping people to develop and connect with like-minded individuals. During Mark’s speaking and training career, he has:

*Been a feature speaker at Networking *Mastermind Conference
*Developed online strategies for key networking leaders
*Built communities within organisations to facilitate more fluid idea-sharing
*Become an internationally-renowned speaker and traveling life coach
*Conducted public speaking, social media and internet marketing workshops across the USA, UK, Canada, Hungary, Russia, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Romania, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Mark is also passionate about coaching, travelling and making a positive social impact.

Mark has helped Australian communities across the nation gain access to quality training, and fresh food when they need it most through not-for-profit partnerships. He’s used his experience in developing and growing initiatives in Victoria, South Australia and Queensland to launch multiple projects across the world to meet various community needs.

Mark resides in Australia, working on new projects as a social entrepreneur. In addition to his community initiatives, Mark also heads a new social enterprise, Feed More People, which works to provide assistance to communities in need across the globe.
Mark Davis


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